Reset  •  Rethink  •  Recharge

March 3-4 (online)

Regain control and professional motivation with two days of networking (it’ll be almost as good as an in-person happy hour) and speakers that will help you refocus on career goals and forward trajectory. Grow and develop a professional network that can help push your skills to the next level.

At the Experience Conference, you can expect motivational leadership keynote speakers, thought-provoking breakout sessions, interactive workshops, and intimate fireside chats to connect with people that share your passions and interests.

See the full agenda here.



Sessions

What does it look like to utilize challenges as the opportunity to change, innovate, and improve? Mirna Valerio will use her story as an ultramarathoner, best selling author, and antiracism educator, to illustrate how we can look a huge, seemingly insurmountable obstacle in the face, change direction, and do something even better, and perhaps, cooler!

About Mirna Valerio

Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator and cross-country coach, ultramarathoner, author of the Amazon bestselling memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress, and antiracism educator. Although she began running in high school, she recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008 and started her blog Fatgirlrunning—about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes— while training for her first marathon. Mirna's athletic story has been featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner's World Magazine. In 2018 she was chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and most recently appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Access Daily, and on Nigel Barker’s new V1Ve Network. When she wears her diversity, equity, and inclusion hat, she helps schools, nonprofits, and businesses to step up their antiracism efforts. She currently lives, trains, and works in Vermont, USA.

The Oreo Brothers will be introducing the keynote speakers during the conference as well as providing entertainment throughout the day.

Antoine & Ryan are two young men that started through a local Improv group, Big Lick Conspiracy, and will not be held back by cultural stereotypes!! They are out to find new activities and share those experiences with different groups of people. They are called the "Oreo Brothers" because even though they are chocolate on the outside, they are more than meets the eye. They will make you laugh and push the limits of comedy all while making your Experience conference day memorable.

This fast-paced and experiential conversation will focus on the role of the Leader in these chaotic, ever-changing times. The presentation will offer ideas and tips on how to move from being an expert to leading the right conversations in your organization. The participants will also gain ideas on improving their own leadership and understand what competencies, skills, experience, and attitudes the C-Suite want from their leaders. Participants will get the chance to identify their current mindset and chart a path for where they would like to grow as a leader.

Session Learning Objectives: By the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to identify tools and resources to grow their leadership, coaching and strategic facilitation skills

About Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is the Managing Partner of Fortify Leadership Group and Founder/CEO of Voltage Leadership Consulting based in Roanoke, Virginia. Since 2001, he has been an executive coach to management and leadership professionals in both for profit and not-for-profit organizations. Working for Capital One and Carilion Clinic, Jeff brings over 25 years of experience working as an executive in human resources and operations rolls leading: operations, human resources, and merger and acquisition efforts. He uses a collaborative approach with his clients to help them determine their vision and then identify a plan to help them achieve their full potential in their professional and personal lives.

Jeff graduated cum laude with a BBA from James Madison University in management and history. He also holds an MA from George Washington University in Human Resource Development. Additionally, Jeff graduated from Georgetown University with an Executive Coaching and Leadership Certificate and became a Fellow of the Advisory Board in 2006. He earned his Professional Coach Certification through the International Coaching Federation.

Fortify Leadership Group has national and international clients: Newport News Shipyard, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, NYU Langone Medical Center, Carilion Clinic, Delta Dental Virginia, Atrium Healthcare, Interactive Achievement, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, Novozymes, Roanoke County, Tableau Software, Torc Robotics and many more.

Jeff is married to Beth and they have 4 children: Olivia, Caroline, Philip and Henry ranging in ages from 14 to 21 years old. Jeff enjoys time with family, all JMU sports, the Atlanta Braves, and runs marathons in his spare time.

About Jackie Lackey

Jackie is currently the Human Resources Director for Qualtrax and has over 12 years’ experience in people management and Human Resources. She has her Bachelor of Arts in English from Roanoke College and earned her Master of Business Administration from Radford University.

Jackie is a member and contributor of the RBTC HR Roundtable and has spoken to several local groups regarding organizational culture and topical HR subjects. She is dedicated to continuous learning and personal and professional growth. Jackie prides herself on being described as “not the typical HR person.”

When she is not at work, you can find her having adventures with her husband and two young boys.

There is a mountain of reasonable workplace goals you could set to fuel your professional progress. But, the most important of the goals will help you develop into a courageous leader. Now more than ever, organizations need leaders who have the adaptive and cognitive skills that can help position their businesses for the future. They need leaders who possess interpersonal and emotional skills that will allow them to foster relationships among cross-functional, digital teams and help new team members thrive in a constantly shifting (corporate and non-profit) world. In this presentation, Candace Doby will share 3 valuable workplace goals that participants can establish and practice every day to help them navigate through uncertainty and lead courageously.

About Candace Doby

Candace Doby is an Atlanta-based speaker, author and advisor who works with universities and organizations to help young leaders build courage in themselves to have hard conversations, navigate through uncertainty and lead with authenticity. Candace combines a decade of research on courage with her experiences leading marketing teams at Chipotle Mexican Grill and solo traveling to more than 20 countries. This unique combination equips her with the implementable strategies she shares with young leaders to help them understand, develop and activate personal courage. Candace is the author of If Courage Could Talk, the owner of greeting card and gift company Pep Talker, and the creator of The Courage Workout Plan coaching program.

Interpersonal communications are at the core of professional and personal relationships.

Gary Noesner, author of “Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator,”  will share real-life case studies from his career to help you learn how to communicate more effectively.

About Gary Noesner

Gary Noesner retired from the FBI in 2003 following a 30-year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. A significant focus of his career was directed toward investigating Middle East hijackings in which American citizens were victimized. In addition, he was an FBI hostage negotiator for 23 years of his career, retiring as the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group, the first person to hold that position. In that capacity, he was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, rightwing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens.

Following his retirement from the FBI he became a Senior Vice President with Control Risks, an international risk consultancy, assisting clients in managing overseas kidnap incidents. He currently speaks at law enforcement conferences and corporate gatherings around the world.

He has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping produced by the History Channel, Nat Geo, WE, Discovery, TLC, A&E, CNN, CBS, BBC, American Heroes Network, and others. He has been interviewed in Time, Forbes, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Roll Call, Washingtonian Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. The 2018 Paramount Network’s “Waco” is based on his book. He was portrayed in the six-part TV series by two time Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Shannon.

Attracting and engaging a more diverse set of employees is not only about the numbers, it is also about understanding that people are coming with varied lived experiences and perspectives, identities, and ideas seen through those lenses. Building skills in identity consciousness and having learning humility is critical to the success in today's multidimensional and diverse workplace.

About Mirna Valerio

Mirna Valerio is a native of Brooklyn, NY, a former educator and cross-country coach, ultramarathoner, author of the Amazon bestselling memoir, A Beautiful Work in Progress, and antiracism educator. Although she began running in high school, she recommitted to the sport after a health scare in 2008 and started her blog Fatgirlrunning—about her experiences as a larger woman in a world of thinner endurance athletes— while training for her first marathon. Mirna's athletic story has been featured in the WSJ, Runner’s World, on NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in the viral REI-produced documentary short, The Mirnavator. Her writing has been featured in Women’s Running Magazine, Self Magazine Online, Outside Online, and Runner's World Magazine. In 2018 she was chosen as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and most recently appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Access Daily, and on Nigel Barker’s new V1Ve Network. When she wears her diversity, equity, and inclusion hat, she helps schools, nonprofits, and businesses to step up their antiracism efforts. She currently lives, trains, and works in Vermont, USA.

How to Fuse Learning and Work into Lifelong Success

Forget everything you know about school and work. Steve Cooper takes a fresh look at what moves us forward, and uses history, stories, and even Bruce Springsteen to reveal a new formula for advancement and success.

This is a 20-minute talk (TED style), followed by a 15-20 minute discussion.

With over 30 years of tech consulting experience, Steve has founded three successful companies whose clients include Fortune 100 companies, leading federal agencies, and world-class non-profit organizations. As CEO of NextUp Solutions and the top-ranked Exelaration Center, he’s a passionate champion of transformative learning experiences.


Your New Friends are Right Around the Corner: Roanoke Newcomers Guide

Did you recently move to the Roanoke Region or plan to move here soon? This fireside chat will help you get connected professionally and socially. Eric Sichau will also share fun facts and information about the region.

Eric Sichau is the Vice President of Membership Services with the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Roanoke Regional Chamber helps promote, stimulate, and improve business in Virginia’s Blue Ridge by influencing public policy, making connections and referrals through their program of work, and helping small businesses grow. Eric has been with the Chamber since October 2019 and was brand new to the Roanoke region.


Build Community Around What You Love

As a young professional it can be hard to make new friends with similar interests. In this session we will discuss creative ways to find like-interest people through outdoor recreation, arts and culture, non-profits, affinity groups, etc. Is your thing biking, running, SUP, volunteering, art museums, playing music, helping others, etc.?

Tim Pohlad-Thomas will lead you through a discussion on inventive ways to find your people.

Tim Pohlad-Thomas is the Outreach and Communications specialist at RIDE Solutions, a program of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, where he has been helping commuters find alternative transportation options since February of 2017, including biking, walking, carpool, and transit.

Are you interested in volunteering professionally and/or serving on a nonprofit board of directors?

Nonprofit boards can be a little intimidating if you’ve never served on one before. During this interactive workshop we’ll talk through some board basics to help you better understand what is expected of board members and what board members should expect of the organizations they serve.

In this interactive workshop you will learn:

  • About the responsibilities, expectations, and risks of board service
  • How to know if you are ready for board service
  • How to find a match for your skills and interests as a young professional
  • Learn questions you should ask before joining a board

Who should participate in this workshop:

  • Anyone who is considering whether serving on a nonprofit board is a way they want to serve the community
  • Anyone who is interested in serving on a nonprofit board
  • Anyone who might be asked by their employer to serve on a nonprofit board

About Alison Jorgensen

Alison Jorgensen is a passionate and dedicated professional with more than 18 years in the nonprofit industry. Driven by meaningful work, she has dedicated her professional life to bettering the community by building nonprofits' capacity to achieve their missions.

Alison is trained as a Technology of Participation (ToP) Facilitator and enjoys guiding nonprofits through the strategic planning process. As Vice President of the Council of Community Services, Alison provides support and leadership to talented staff in several programs. Alison serves in an executive leadership role in several associations across the state and serves locally on the Local Office on Aging's Advisory Board.

She earned her BA in Sociology from Roanoke College and her MS in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University. Alison earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration (CVA) in early 2009 and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). She has worked at the Council of Community Services for over 18 years. She is married with one child.

Virtual Expo

The virtual expo is a place to meet company representatives from around the region and find things to do, get a hot deal at a local business, or network for a job.

  • Roanoke Outside
  • Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

Interested in becoming a vendor? Booths start at just $25! LEARN MORE


Sponsors

Thank you to the business partners that make our events possible.

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Experience, the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s signature talent event, partners with regional businesses to focus on talent attraction, retention and professional development. The conference and year-round events build upon the region’s livability narrative and bring together young professionals and leaders to strengthen the Roanoke Region business community.

Contact Erin Burcham to learn more.